Archives: Welfare Plans

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DOL Finalizes Highly Anticipated Rule Aimed at Expanding Access to Association Health Plans

In January, we posted about the Department of Labor’s (DOL or the “Department”) proposed rule to allow more Association Health Plans (AHPs) to be regulated as large group health plans.  The proposed rule garnered national attention and the Department received over 900 stakeholder comments from consumer groups, individual employers, employer associations, health insurance issuers, business … Continue Reading

Original HSA Family Contribution Limit to Remain in Place for 2018

Taxpayers may treat the $6,900 original annual contribution limit for family coverage to health savings accounts (“HSAs”) as the limit for 2018, according to IRS guidance released on April 26, 2018 (press release; IRS Rev. Proc. 2018-27).  Employers that took steps to comply with the reduced limit may need to take action. As discussed in … Continue Reading

HSA Family Contribution Limit Reduced for 2018

Changes to cost of living adjustments for health savings accounts (“HSAs”) by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”) caused a $50 decrease in the contribution limit for family coverage to HSAs for 2018.  The limit was reduced from $6,900 to $6,850 (original limit here; revised limit here). This affects only 2018 … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Deals Another Blow to Sixth Circuit’s “Yard-Man Inferences”

On February 20, 2018, the Supreme Court decided CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, 574 U.S. ___ (2018), which raised, for the second time in three years, the question of how courts should interpret collective-bargaining agreements (“CBAs”).  Reese involved a dispute between retirees and their former employer, CNH, about whether an expired 1998 CBA created a … Continue Reading

Interim Guidance for Expatriate Health Plans

The IRS has provided interim guidance in Notice 2015-43 on the application of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act to expatriate health insurance issuers, expatriate health plans, and employers in their capacity as sponsors of expatriate health plans.  The interim guidance is effective for policies that are issued or renewed on or after July … Continue Reading

Marriage Equality Decision Is Big News (But May Have Little Impact on Private Sector Employee Benefit Plans)

The Supreme Court’s decision last week in Obergefell v. Hodges is big news: it held that the 14th Amendment requires states to license same-sex marriages and to recognize lawful out-of-state same-sex marriages, and thus legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.  In a final section that begins with a philosopher’s take — “No union is more … Continue Reading

More Guidance on New Cost-Sharing Limit

A few weeks ago we posted about a new out-of-pocket limit for group health plans that provide family coverage. HHS announced that the ACA cost-sharing limit for self-only coverage applies to each individual who has family coverage. This embedded individual limit is in addition to the existing limit for family coverage, which applies to the … Continue Reading

HHS Creates A New Out-of-Pocket Limit For Health Plans

In case you missed this development—which was buried in the preamble of a 129-page Federal Register notice dealing mainly with rules for the individual and small group markets—HHS has created a new out-of-pocket limit for group health plans that provide family coverage. HHS says that the limit for self-only coverage applies to each individual who … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling on Agency Flip-Flopping Affects Rules for Benefit Plans

A recent Supreme Court decision, Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, highlights two important points about the authority of the U.S. Department of Labor, IRS, and other administrative agencies to interpret rules: U.S. courts will generally follow administrative interpretations of statutes and an agency’s regulations, except in rare circumstances. This deference extends to “sub-regulatory” guidance, like … Continue Reading

Affordable Care Act Issues for U.S. Expatriates

By now most employers are beginning to come to terms with the Affordable Care Act coverage mandates and reporting requirements that apply to the group health coverage of their U.S. workforce. For global businesses, though, the problems do not stop at the U.S. border. These companies must also determine how ACA affects U.S. citizens and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Overturns Inference of Vesting of Bargained Retiree Benefits

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett, addressing the question whether a collective bargaining agreement is presumed to provide vested retiree medical benefits.  Unlike pension benefits, welfare benefits, such as retiree medical coverage, are not subject to statutory vesting rules under ERISA.  Accordingly, whether an employer may … Continue Reading

Changes Proposed for Health Benefits Summary

New proposed regulations would change some of the requirements for the uniform summary of benefits and coverage (“SBC”) that group health plans must provide to participants.  The Labor Department has also made available proposed updates to the SBC template, coverage examples, uniform glossary of terms, and related materials on its website.  … Continue Reading

Agencies Propose Pilot Program for Wraparound Health Coverage

New proposed regulations modify the rules that would allow employers to offer limited wraparound health coverage as an “excepted benefit” to employees who purchase individual health coverage through an Exchange.  Although the new rules relax some of the controversial requirements proposed in 2013, they also create new restrictions and reporting requirements. The new proposed regulations … Continue Reading

EEOC Seeks to Stop Use of Financial Incentives for Wellness Program Participation

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has requested that the United States District Court of Minnesota stop Honeywell from implementing a wellness program that would provide financial incentives for undergoing biometric screenings.  The EEOC is challenging Honeywell’s program on grounds that it would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination … Continue Reading

IRS Releases ACA Reporting Forms

Starting in 2015, the Affordable Care Act imposes burdensome new reporting requirements on employers and insurers that provide group health coverage.  We described the reporting requirements in earlier posts, here and here. Employers and other reporting entities have anxiously awaited the IRS forms on which these reports will be made, so that they can program … Continue Reading
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